Selling A Bastrop Home In The Summer Needs Special Staging

 

 

Beautiful Landscaped Yard

Beautiful Landscaped Yard

 

As the days grow longer and the thermometer rises, everyone wants to start spending more time outdoors—to make full use of our yards and patios. But what if your Bastrop or Austin home is going to be on the market this summer? Does it mean you have to stop enjoying yourself, stop entertaining guests, just because you want to keep the place in showable condition?

 

The answer is, of course, of course not. Using the outdoor spaces of your home means striking a balance between living your life and ensuring everything is in top condition when buyers come calling. It’s actually a staging opportunity, because most of your prospective buyers will be favorably impressed if your outdoor staging areas make it easy to picture themselves enjoying our beautiful {Your Region} summer weather.

 

Staging your home’s landscaping thus takes added importance during summertime, beginning with overall curb appeal. Any time of year, potential buyers are often swayed by that first impression: as they approach the house, the impact will be one they’d like their own future visitors to have. Staging an inviting front yard appearance does wonders for your selling prospects.

 

Make sure your lawn is trimmed and the yard edged. During springtime and fall, a 2”-3” grass length is recommended, but as the hotter summer months approach, longer grass will help shade the soil and keep roots comfy. Minimize brown spots and thin patches by giving the blades an extra half inch.

 

Staging walkways and driveways means keeping cemented areas free of volunteer growing things. Having weeds, clover, or anything sprouting between stones or pavement is not only unsightly, it brings to mind the work required for upkeep (a turnoff to prospects). Although chemical herbicides are popular, an eco-conscious (and penny-conscious) alternative is plain old kitchen vinegar.

 

The most important staging advice for the outside of the house is that it give the impression that a fresh coat of paint won’t be needed for quite a while. Cleaning it can be enough, or if not, new paint may be needed. You can opt for professional painting, but if your home is sided, or if you’ve recently (within the past five years) had your home painted, pay attention to details like windows and other smaller touchups you can easily do yourself.

 

If staging the back (and possibly front) yards is likely to be a really important part of marketing your Bastrop or Austin home, give some attention to outdoor furniture. It’s expensive stuff, so if it’s going to really be a key selling point for the property, it might be worth the effort to really make the space shine. If you don’t have any outdoor furniture (and don’t plan to need any in your new house), consider hiring a stager just to handle the exterior spaces.  Less expensive than a full home staging, exterior staging can make a huge difference in the overall appeal of your Bastrop or Austin home during the outdoor months.

 

Once you’ve revitalized of your home’s outdoor areas, keeping it in top showing condition need consist of little more than the regular weekly yard work and cleanup, a relaxing prospect for enjoying your property throughout the good weather months. And do give me a call—I’m standing by to take care of the rest!

Tips about the Bastrop Housing Market

Bastrop, TX

 

Although much of Bastrop is maintaining its resale value and curb appeal, as in any area, there will always be some parts that are rapidly becoming more popularity. For instance, homes that are close to Camp Swift are often sought after. In addition, Colony, Tahitian Village, Wyldwood and Circle D Estates/KC Estates are also popular options.

 

Some of these areas have experienced an astounding increase in home values. It is important to remember that the value of each home varies from one to another, and therefore no guarantees about future increases are possible. However, the numbers do not lie and they should play a role in any new home purchase.

 

Circle D Estates/KC Estates 

 

With statistics beginning from 1990, these communities have proven themselves to be wise investments. In the last 24 years, the total neighborhood is estimated to have seen an increased value of more than 140% according to neighborhoodscout.com.

 

Tahitian Village

 

Tahitian Village is remarkably similar to Circle D and KC Estates. Their home values have appreciated in excess of 132% in the same 24 years. Those statistics include an annual growth rate of approximately 3.6%.  It is interesting to point out that more than 1/3 of the people in this immediate area work in executive, professional or management positions and most families have a middle class income.

 

Camp Swift

 

Camp Swift has maintained its value over the years and is always likely to be in demand because of the area itself and its proximity to the base. Its value has increased by more than 80% since 1990, which lends itself to an annual improvement of more than 2.5%. Although its value has not increased as significantly as others, it is still a wonderful investment opportunity and a great place to raise a family.

 

Wyldwood

 

In the last 24 years, lucky homebuyers in Wyldwood saw improvements of more than 158%. That is an average of just over 4% a year, with most residents usually having an upper- middle class income.

 

 

As Bastrop continues to grow over the next few years, home values are likely to increase. Whether it is a modest increase or a substantial one, this is the time to speak with a realtor about buying a home.

Don’t Miss the Farm Street Opry!

Farm Street Picture

 

Bastrop, Texas is known as an ideal place to work and raise a family. Their scheduled activities include many options for shopping, learning and entertainment. The majority of those activities are affordable and some occur regularly, so there is always the opportunity to plan for the next event.

 

One event to mark on a calendar will be found at the Bastrop Convention Center on June 5, 2014 at 7:00 PM. The Farm Street Opry occurs the first Thursday of every month and is a family friendly presentation. Fortunately, it is also very affordable to access, with an adult entry fee of only $5.00 and any accompanying children ten and under get in for free.

 

What to Expect at the Event

 

As the name implies, it is a small-town version of the well-known stage. Here, local musicians and visiting talent share their love and talent for country music with the audience. In addition, although concessions are available, no alcohol is sold or permitted at the event.

 

There is always the possibility that this popular event will be prone to lines or could sell out of available seats. Therefore, it is a good idea to arrive soon after the doors open at 5:30 to get the best seats for you and your family.

 

As expected for this type of event, dress will be casual and there will be people of all ages in the audience. There is also likely to be the opportunity for some audience participation, although the focus will obviously be primarily on stage.

 

 

Finally, it is also worth noting that this important event is one of Bastrop’s newer attractions. Its grand opening occurred in April of 2014 and therefore there are still many people who have not experienced it yet. That means it is a good opportunity to take your friends and family, then plan to make it a regular event.

Why is Bastrop Growing so Much?

 

Main Street

Main Street

 

 

The city of Bastrop has experienced significant growth over the past few years. Long-term residents may remember what it was like without the Best Buy, while bargain hunters may cringe at the memory of living without the Goodwill thrift store.

 

In the 2010 census, the city of Bastrop was credited with 7, 218 full time residents. However, it should be pointed out that those numbers do not reflect people living outside the city, so the rural population adds significantly to both the economy and use of the city.

 

In 2012, the city of Bastrop was estimated by the United States Census Bureau to have experienced a 2.4% growth in the preceding two years. Its new estimated population was 7, 394.

 

Why Does Bastrop Attract New Residents?

 

Bastrop is an area that values education and employment, both of which are reflected when considering the primary sources of income for the community. Wal-mart, the school district and government offices are the primary employers. . Some of the new residents or recent high school graduates have accessed the night and continuing education classes given by Austin Community College within the city of Bastrop.

 

One less fun, but equally important aspect of Bastrop is their domestic violence shelter. Many victims of domestic violence have found a new life as the result of the services offered by the Crisis Center and the shelter itself.

 

There are other, more practical reasons for people to move to Bastrop. Only about 30 minutes from Austin and all that it offers, Bastrop provides the small-town appeal that so many families need. Without huge campuses and multiple high schools, it is easier to keep track of teenagers and their activities.

 

In fact, the opening of a theater, bowling alley and arcade in Bastrop not that long ago has provided entertainment options for residents of all ages. With safe children, affordable housing and steady employment, Bastrop will surely continue to grow in years to come.

The Colorado River in Bastrop, TX

Bastrop, TX

Colorado River

 

The Colorado River is an important part of Texas and is known to be an exceptionally calm river. At different points along it, swimming, boating are kayaking are popular and safe. It will be helpful to remember if planning any water adventure, that much of Texas has experienced a drought in recent years and lower water levels could certainly impact the overall experience.

 

Permits are not required to enjoy the river, although renting tubes, boats, etc. may still be necessary. One distinct advantage of the mild winters that are so common in Central Texas is that there are occasionally still a few days in November and December that allow for outdoor water activities.

 

The Alamo City Rivermen’s Annual Overnight Freeze Trip

 

It is possible to live in or around Bastrop for many years and never to have heard of these brave, cold men. Each year, more than 100 brave souls use at least 60 boats to paddle their way down the Colorado River in the middle of the winter. They are fortified by hot grog, delicious food and probably by the knowledge that if they chicken out, everyone who finished the trip would know.

 

The entire event runs within Bastrop County and the Colorado River boasts the same easily accessible streams, with a correspondingly slow current, as it does throughout the state. Along the trip, the reason for the trip become more obvious and shows cliffs and bluffs that are not commonly seen by visitors. The open water also allows for the view (but not hunting) of unsuspecting animals and there is often an abundance of fish to be caught.

 

The Colorado River provides water to millions of Texas, entertainment to countless others and nutrition in the form of healthy fish that are just waiting to be caught. As long as Texans respect it, it will continue to provide the same benefits to future generations.

How to Stage Your Bastrop Home

Curb appeal picture

 

If you’re thinking of selling your Bastrop, TX home the most important thing you can do aside from selecting an experienced real estate specialist is to properly stage your home for sale.

 

Staging your Bastrop, TX home for sale means making sure that your home’s best assets ‘pop’ so that a potential buyer sees them right away. After all, if a buyer has to search for the potential in your home they may just pass on it. Here are a few tips that will help you to stage and style your home to sell quickly.

 

Make Sure Your Home has Curb Appeal

 

You want to do all that you can to boost the curb appeal of your home.  Sure, you have heard this a thousand times, but do you really know what it means? Curb appeal means that when people take a look at your home from outside, the home is attractive and inviting. The fact is people are most likely to drive by the home, sometimes more than once, before they ever take a look inside. This is where staging can make a difference.

 

Cleaning from the Outside In

 

We all know that first impressions are the most important.  This is especially true when staging your home for sale in Bastrop. You will want to power wash the walkways, siding and so forth. Be sure that the house numbers are visible, clean, and easy to read. Fresh greenery and flowers in bloom are always a nice touch if they match the exterior décor.

 

The yard should be manicured and clean. Sod can be added as needed to keep curb appeal up. Windows should be maintained and sparkling clean for as long as the home is on the market. Pay special attention to the front windows. Finally, the entryway must say “welcome home” to those potential buyers visiting. Make sure that your outside lights are on in the evening times in case a potential buyer comes through. Illuminating lights aligning the walkway is also a good idea generally.

 

De-clutter your Home Before Showing it

 

This is very important as it sets the tone for a potential buyer’s visit. The goal is to maximize a feeling of openness and space so that a potential buyer can see themselves living there.  Clutter needs to be thrown or packed away and moved out of the home. A storage unit may come in handy, because if you are like most, you likely have at least one room with extra furniture that just doesn’t match the rest of the room.  The floors should be clear of anything unnecessary, with the cabinets and walls minimally decorated. The goal is to really maximize open floor space so that a potential buyer “feels” that your rooms are spacious.

 

While you are still living in the home keeping a showroom appearance may be tough, and that is ok. A balance is healthy. Small touches like flowers, your favorite vases and using decorative (or fresh) fruits on the counter are all good rules of thumb. While you are at it, keep that dining room table fully set. It should be as inviting as it would be for a holiday feast, but not too formal.

 

In your bedrooms, you’ll want to ensure that the décor and colors are as neutral as possible. One of the toughest areas to de-clutter is the master bedroom as it has most of your day-to-day personal items and often many of your valuables too. Ideally, all of your valuables are moved to a safe deposit box in your bank. Another option is to move all of your valuable possessions (ie. jewelry) and personal items to a spare suitcase and lock that anytime you leave the home (you never know when someone will visit your house if its listed on the MLS and your agent has put a lockbox on the front door). Of course, you’ll need to keep the linens fresh in all of your bedrooms, and reduce artwork to a few contemporary pieces.

 

When there is a scheduled viewing or open house it’s a good idea to keep the closets open, but you’ll want to free up at least 30% of the closet space for potential buyers to really appreciate the size of the closet.

 

In the bathrooms you want to be sure that you have well hidden all personal accents other than things that are both pristine and appropriate.  Even the soap should be clean and fresh. Everything should be looked at as if you were a visitor.

 

If you have an upper floor placing an eye catching piece just at the top of the stairs may help entice your potential buyer to view the entire house rather than leaving after just looking at the first floor. You do want to add a pop of color or an interesting piece of art here and there to keep visitor’s interest throughout the tour. If you have areas that are a bit awkward like room under the stairs or a nook then find a unique way to showcase that area. An office area or built in shelves could turn that once awkward area into the homes biggest selling point.

 

A very important item if you have pets is to eliminate pet odors as much as possible.  There are numerous sprays and air fresheners that do this and you’ll have to ensure its done daily. The goal is to must remain vigilant in keeping everything picked up, odor free and clean.

 

Remember, staging your home to sell is really important, and it should not be taken lightly. The sooner you address this the better as it really is time-consuming and requires planning. Buyers will examine your {Your Region} home from every angle, so make sure that your home is inviting and appealing from top to bottom, inside and out.

 

If you’re thinking of selling your Bastrop or central Texas home and don’t know where to start in staging your home, please contact me today. I can provide you with expert advice after visiting with you or if you’d like the help of professionals, I can refer you to local staging experts we’ve worked with in the past.

 

Tips for holding a successful garage sale or yard sale

Bastrop Garage Sales

Bastrop Garage Sales

 

Ok Bastrop it’s that time of the year and if you’re looking to do some Spring-cleaning and declutter your home, Yard sales might be the best way to eliminate junk, and make a little extra money.

 

As you drive around Bastrop on a Saturday and Sunday morning you will see garage sales popping up in every neighborhood. You can find the most concentration of garage sales in Riverside Grove, Hunters Crossing and even The Colony. So, what makes one-yard sale good and another a failure?

 

Being a good haggler doesn’t hurt because, at the end of the day, the point is to have visitors leave with as many items as possible. Sometimes that means bartering or selling some of those unwanted items in bulk or bundles. It might also mean creating “clearance” bins and offering buyers a cookie with lemonade. Shoot, you might even throw in some of my real estate business cards while you’re at it.

 

Here are a few basic tips to holding a good yard sale, based on the best practices observed at area yard and garage sales over the past month. By mastering these, the only hard part will be picking and choosing which items you are ready to say “goodbye.”

Don’t be afraid to invite friends.

 

Crowds attract more crowds. By inviting your friends and neighbors, it will make it easier to attract people who are driving by. Larger crowds mean more merchandise will be sold.

 

While you’re at it, advertise your yard or garage sale on area bulletin boards, Craig’s List, in newspapers, at work, online and at grocery stores.

 

Signage

 

Make sure you have plenty signs and the bright colored ones are the best. On the signs you want to have your address, dates and times of the sale and maybe even some arrows directing them to your home. Place them throughout the neighborhood and have somebody check on them during  the day to make sure somebody hasn’t removed them.

 

Treat your yard like a store

 

There’s nothing more unattractive than an unorganized yard sale. Buyers want to get in and get out without having to sift through piles of junk. So set up display areas and separate items by theme or use.

For example, if you’re selling a dining set, consider reconstructing a dining table setting that places sale items among your own things. Set the scene and buyers will be attracted to the area.

This also means making sure that the “hot items” are closest to the road. Feature them in an attractive way to draw attention.

 

Be flexible

 

The whole point is to make money, so be willing to barter. Visitors likely will only carry between $30 and $50, so be willing to negotiate package deals or two-for-one sales.

It also wouldn’t hurt, as a selling strategy, to price items and then immediately slash them. Dump them in a clearance bin and everyone will take a peak.

 

Equip yourself

 

Make sure you have all the tools you need to run the sale properly. This means keeping plenty of small bills on hand, as well as a few rolls of quarters. If you need, make sure a calculator is handy.

It also doesn’t hurt to wear an apron or a loose shirt with pockets. This gives you mobility so you can make change and interact with customers away from the buying table.

 

Offer refreshments

 

Food attracts people. Free refreshments will attract even more people. But if you think your yard sale will have a steady flow without a lemonade stand, you can always sell food items for a cheap price.

Good items to have on hand include water, juice, coffee and tea, as well as small munchies like chips, cookies or nuts. I knew a guy in Bastrop that sold breakfast tacos and sausage wraps and let me tell you, he made a killing.

 

Price accordingly

 

This isn’t the place to be a stickler for what something is “worth.” The key to a good yard sale is getting items to move quickly. Unless an item is large like a bed or desk, or expensive like stainless steel kitchenware, keep everything below $2 or $3.

To make your job as cashier easier, avoid strange pricing. It’s easier to deal with dozens of $1 and $2 items than it is when they’re priced at $1.25 and $2.60.

Top 5 Home Selling Mistakes to Avoid in Bastrop

IMG_0085

If you are ready to list your Bastrop or central Texas home for sale, set yourself up for success by avoiding these 5 common selling mistakes:

 

1. Putting your home on the market prematurely. 

 

Presentation is everything when it comes to selling your home. So, before you place your home on the market, address any and all needed repairs, de-clutter, depersonalize and consider staging.

 

2. Improper pricing. 

 

In many cases, homeowners choose to price their home above current market value. The sales price of your home will be determined by the current market value; in other words, what buyers in Bastrop and Central Texas are willing to pay for your property. To determine the fair market value of your home, check recent comparable properties and recent sales in the surrounding area. Working with an experienced real estate agent is key to setting the right price.

 

3. Lack of marketing. 

 

Once your home is listed for sale, it is important to market the property to prospective buyers. This is where using a professional real estate agent really pays off as they are experts in marketing your home through special events, open houses, and professional photographs with descriptions listed on a variety of sites help to place your property in the best possible light, in front of the widest possible audience of buyers.

4. Hiring an inexperienced agent. 

Don’t place one of your largest financial assets in the hands of an inexperienced real estate agent. Choose a professional with not only general experience, but someone familiar with your type of property and neighborhood.

 

5. Don’t go it alone. 

 

While it is tempting to list your property yourself to avoid the costs and fees associated with hiring an experienced real estate agent, this decision could be costly. A local agent stays abreast of the current home market conditions, trends and laws that could affect the pricing and ultimately, the sale of your property. A mistake in the sales process can be very costly and time consuming.

 

Armed with this information, work to proactively avoid these common mistakes when you list your property for sale. If you’re thinking of selling and would like to discuss what you could get for your home, call me today.

Home Loan Assumability is Making a Comeback in Bastrop

Sell or Buy David Board is your Guy!

Sell or Buy David Board is your Guy!

 

As interest rates slowly increase, we’re starting to see more and more buyers in Bastrop, TX taking advantage of assumable home loans to make the purchase. Mortgage assumability is a feature that enables homebuyers to take on the loan previously obtained by the seller. The catch here is that the buyer has to pay interest at the same rate as the seller did. This feature is limited to mortgages that are covered by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) or the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). If you have a loan insured by either of these government bodies and are looking to sell your home, now is the time to market the mortgage along with the home.  With interest rates increasing, this is a convenient option for potential home buyers in Bastrop since the seller may have obtained the mortgage at a rate lower than the prevailing one in the market today. Aside from the cheaper mortgage payment, there are a few other benefits of home loan assumability for the buyers.

  • The buyer doesn’t have to pay the additional processing fees charged by lenders when originating a new home loan. There are many charges and expenses associated with getting a new mortgage that are completely avoided.

 

 

  • The buyer doesn’t have to get the house appraised (and pay for this expense). Many buyers may still bear this expense voluntarily but its not a requirement when taking advantage of an assumable loan.

 

 

  • A recording tax may not have to be paid.  A recording tax is normally paid each time a mortgage is obtained on a property. In this case, since a new mortgage is not being originated, a new tax will likely be avoided altogether.

 

  • Since some part of the loan would have already been paid off by the seller, it is likely that a larger chunk of the mortgage payment goes towards paying off the principal amount.

 

 

  • These are some of the benefits for homebuyers to assume home loans when buying a new home in Bastrop Now this may not turn out to be the best option for all buyers. For instance, if you are looking to buy a home for the first time, you might not be able to get 100% financing. Let’s say the value of the house is $150,000 while the seller owes $100,000. You will have to make up the difference of $50,000 by paying cash or by negotiating with the seller for seller financing.

 

 

Buyers also still have to undergo the standard screening process for creditworthiness by the VA or FHA. Finally, the buyer has to waive the seller off all future responsibilities and obligations pertaining to the loan.

 

 

In a market where interest rates are on the rise, home loan assumability is a great option for buyers. Interested in learning more about how you can take advantage of this? Give me a call and I’d be happy to discuss.